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16GB Nexus 7 Can't Perform With Storage Nearly Full?

By - Source: The Register | B 38 comments

Consumers who purchased the 16 GB version of Google's Nexus 7 tablet are complaining of severe performance issues.

Not to get personal, but I thought it was just me. When I first received the Google Nexus 7 tablet, it was simply badass, even more so compared to my Kindle Fire (which was tossed over to my wife). But since then, the tablet's performance has glaringly slowed to a crawl, turning into a disappointing, worthless piece of junk. That may be harsh, but the before and after is like night and day, and as a consumer who shelled out $250 for the 16 GB version, I expect a quality product.

It seems that my Nexus 7 tablet no longer has spunk.

Mind you I'm horribly obsessive about performance. Just like on the PC, I make sure nothing is running in the background that will steal a single frame from my games. Android is no different, and while I like the way Ice Cream Sandwich will allow applications to run simultaneously in the background, I make sure they're all nuked so I can get every drop of juice from Nvidia's quad core Tegra 3.

But now it seems that I'm not the only one who's noticed the performance degradation. The Register has an interesting article that describes the same problem, only the information is based on various forums where annoyed customers have flocked to provide their complaints. Apparently the problem exists only on the 16 GB model, and when the storage capacity falls below 2 GB.

Technically device owners only have 13 GB of internal storage to use – the rest is eaten up by Android. Unlike many Android smartphones, that 13 GB is reserved for apps, their data, multimedia and so on. Unfortunately, 13 GB isn't really enough for the Android gamer, especially when playing Gameloft titles. As an example, N.O.V.A. 3 eats up 1.99 GB, whereas Modern Combat 3 eats up 1.47 GB. Order and Chaos, Gameloft's World of Warcraft mobile knock-off, consumes 0.92 GB. With just those three Gameloft games alone, I've lost 4.38 GB.

"So here I am, stuck with a device that is labeled for 16 GB storage, that in reality only has just over 13 GB of storage ... but due to performance issues, REALLY only has 9-10 GB of storage available for content and software," writes one angry Nexus 7 owner.

"Ever since I got my Nexus 7 I noticed it was a little on the slow side, when playing 3D games I experienced a lot of freezing and issues when it was loading in new textures but more recently I've noticed these issues get worse," writes another owner. "Downloading an app is tremendously slow with it taking several minutes to download just a few meg while my phone completes the same task in seconds."

"I've seen reports of this linked with poor IO transfer benchmarks," another owner writes who saw a performance increase after disabling Currents and freeing up 2 GB of cache. "Current best guess seems to be that the device is having trouble writing and reading cache during background tasks and is slowing down everything else. Thing is it ran like a particularly greased up Usain Bolt for the first few months. I was sure it was some sort of app I'd installed messing things up but I can't isolate it at all, and it manifests as high IO usage. It really is incredibly annoying, with Chrome habitually showing the "Not Responding" dialogue, and Google Now becoming Google Eventually."

For the record, AndroBench produced these results on my Nexus 7:

SEQ RD: 4.69 MB/s
SEQ WR: 0.31 MB/s
RND RD: 1.33 MB/s, 340.82 IOPS(4K)
RND WR: 0.03 MB/s, 9.05 IOPS(4K)

SQLite
Insert: 2.75 TPS
Update: 30.93 TPS
Delete: 20.31 TPS

The great thing with AndroBench is that it will compare your scores to other devices. Apparently my sequential write of 0.31 MB/s is slower than the Nexus 7 which is ranked at #1 with 23.02 MB/s. Random read is also supposed to be around 1843.89 IOPS(4), but mine lists as 340.82 IOPS(4K). That said, the tablet's horrid performance isn't simply my imagination, and it's not the imagination of numerous other users complaining about slowdown on various forums.

Note this benchmark was performed with 1.2 GB of free internal space out of 13 GB. After deleting some app cache, I ran the benchmark again with 2.1 GB of free space. The results still shows less than optimal performance, but better than before:

SEQ RD: 27.36 MB/s
SEQ WR: 11.06 MB/s
RND RD: 6.54 MB/s, 1676.15 IOPS(4K)
RND WR: 0.1 MB/s, 28.15 IOPS(4K)

SQLite
Insert: 29.9 TPS
Update: 22.86 TPS
Delete: 29.33 TPS

Alright, let's clear up to 3 GB of free space, disable Currents sync in the background (which consumes a lot of data), and see what happens:

SEQ RD: 29.69 MB/s
SEQ WR: 0.75 MB/s
RND RD: 8.03 MB/s, 2056.55 IOPS(4K)
RND WR: 0.14 MB/s, 237.12 IOPS(4K)

SQLite
Insert: 7.97 TPS
Update: 29.59 TPS
Delete: 20.49 TPS

For the record, AndroBench claims the Nexus 7 should perform like this:

SEQ RD: n/a
SEQ WR: 22.78 MB/s
RND RD: 1842.62 IOPS(4K)
RND WR: 6157.93 IOPS(4K)

SQLite
Insert: 205.28 TPS
Update: 166.25 TPS
Delete: 215.15 TPS

Even after clearing up to 3 GB of space and turning off Currents, the performance is still sluggish. While the sequential read seemingly has improved, the sequential write still remains low. In fact, even the random write speeds are suspiciously low, leaving me to wonder if something is going on in regards to writing to the flash – could this be why downloads are taking so long as other users have suggested?

So far Google hasn't responded to queries over the Nexus 7 16 GB slowdown. Hopefully these numbers will help shed some light on the situation.

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Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    lilotimz , September 11, 2012 9:01 PM
    Well Asus did design this in less than half a year so there's bound to be some bugs but eh. Having used Asus for most computer parts I can safely say that they'll correct this problem one way or another. This IS googles premier tablet you know.
  • 11 Hide
    Anonymous , September 11, 2012 9:43 PM
    "Google should have never used Linux as the base to build android on top of in the first place."

    How laughable. Are you heavily invested in Microsoft or Apple?
    Linux is rock solid and reliable, a proven OS. Apple stuff is based on BSD UNIX. Linux and Apple iOS, can be traced back to humble, powerful UNIX system V.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , September 11, 2012 9:29 PM
    "Google should have never used Linux as the base to build android on top of in the first place."

    Android would be nowhere near as popular as it is today if it was built on top of a closed source like iOS or WP. It's what makes Android a fantastic and delightful experience.
Other Comments
    Display all 38 comments.
  • 5 Hide
    A Bad Day , September 11, 2012 8:41 PM
    "If it has 16GB of storage, it has 16GB of storage. Good day, now get out."

    Hopefully Google's response wouldn't be like that.
  • 7 Hide
    amdwilliam1985 , September 11, 2012 8:42 PM
    I feel sorry for all those 16GB users, and at the same time I feel better about my $200 8GB now.

    Hopefully Google will address it asap, it's their first tablet, so I won't be surprise that it has a few bugs like this.
  • -5 Hide
    Anonymous , September 11, 2012 8:56 PM
    Wow a Google Tablet with bugs. Imagine that?!?!
  • 15 Hide
    lilotimz , September 11, 2012 9:01 PM
    Well Asus did design this in less than half a year so there's bound to be some bugs but eh. Having used Asus for most computer parts I can safely say that they'll correct this problem one way or another. This IS googles premier tablet you know.
  • 10 Hide
    christarp , September 11, 2012 9:01 PM
    jasonpaulReading this makes me happy I canceled my preorder... Samsung's tablet seems like a much better choice.

    they're not
  • 10 Hide
    jerm1027 , September 11, 2012 9:17 PM
    amdwilliam1985I feel sorry for all those 16GB users, and at the same time I feel better about my $200 8GB now.Hopefully Google will address it asap, it's their first tablet, so I won't be surprise that it has a few bugs like this.

    Google is normally really good about their hardware. I think the problem is more so with rushing rather than inexperience, especially considering their manufacturer for the Nexus 7 is ASUS. I mean the Nexus One is still kicking to this day with no problems. Google gave Asus ridiculously high specs to follow-through on and they had 6 months to get it out the door. If this thing didn't have bugs, I would have worshiped Asus as a manufacturing god.
  • -2 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 11, 2012 9:25 PM
    Oh dear, this is not a good advert for Google, let's hope it's just an isolated incident, otherwise the buying public will vote with their feet
    ...
    Even amongst rabid fanbois, there is no loyalty these days
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , September 11, 2012 9:29 PM
    "Google should have never used Linux as the base to build android on top of in the first place."

    Android would be nowhere near as popular as it is today if it was built on top of a closed source like iOS or WP. It's what makes Android a fantastic and delightful experience.
  • 11 Hide
    Anonymous , September 11, 2012 9:43 PM
    "Google should have never used Linux as the base to build android on top of in the first place."

    How laughable. Are you heavily invested in Microsoft or Apple?
    Linux is rock solid and reliable, a proven OS. Apple stuff is based on BSD UNIX. Linux and Apple iOS, can be traced back to humble, powerful UNIX system V.
  • 2 Hide
    beetlejuicegr , September 11, 2012 9:44 PM
    Yes i agree guys, this is a problem that will be fixed asap and yes i have a Nexus One still going strong after my 2year old daughter drooled on it inside the trackball, after me dropping it on various floors countless times..the last 2.5 years :) 
  • 4 Hide
    beardguy , September 11, 2012 9:47 PM
    Sorry, but I have to give the author (Kevin) a hard time as he lauded the Nexus as the next best thing to sliced bread when it first came out. It seems he should have waited and wrote a proper review after owning it awhile.

    As for me, well I'm still happy with my Kindle Fire. And I'm really glad I didn't go out and swap it for a Nexus after reading the first article. I was considering it (seriously).
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , September 11, 2012 10:04 PM
    "and while I like the way Ice Cream Sandwich will allow applications to run simultaneously in the background,"

    Just a correction, Nexus 7 runs Jelly Bean, not ICS.
  • 0 Hide
    Axelion , September 11, 2012 10:38 PM
    My Nexus 7 16gb suffers slowdown issue after two weeks of use. Games are laggy and apps run slow. I had to reset my Nexus 7 to factory settings and disable google current and google play magazine that some people on the net suggested.

    Another 2 weeks of use now and my Nexus 7 is still running fast. I don't think the storage is the cause of the issue because I suffered no performance degradation even when my storage is not even close to full(I think it was 6gb left). I'm sure google bloatwares that are causing it!!!
  • -5 Hide
    tendoboy1984 , September 11, 2012 10:46 PM
    How do the Kindle Fire and Samsung Galaxy Tab compare to the Nexus 7? Do they have any of the same performance issues?

    I will never buy a Kindle Fire, because I don't want to use a locked-down, butchered version of Android. And I especially don't want to use Amazon's crappy appstore, which is a graveyard compared to iTunes and Google Play.

    I don't get the appeal of the Kindle Fire. It runs a customized, locked-down version of Android that will never be updated by Google. The Amazon Appstore has a fraction of the apps available on iTunes / Apple App Store and Google Play. If Amazon wants to compete with Google and Apple, they need to give developers more freedom, because the entire Kindle experience seems half-assed compared to what you get on an iPad or Android device.

    I don't know why Google allowed Amazon to use Android if they were going to butcher it so much. It goes against what Android is all about: freedom and openness.
  • 2 Hide
    A Bad Day , September 11, 2012 11:07 PM
    AxelionMy Nexus 7 16gb suffers slowdown issue after two weeks of use. Games are laggy and apps run slow. I had to reset my Nexus 7 to factory settings and disable google current and google play magazine that some people on the net suggested. Another 2 weeks of use now and my Nexus 7 is still running fast. I don't think the storage is the cause of the issue because I suffered no performance degradation even when my storage is not even close to full(I think it was 6gb left). I'm sure google bloatwares that are causing it!!!


    Wait, you can disable bloatwares? All of the smartphones I've seen have some bloatware on them.

    Undeleteable trial bloatware that sit on your storage unless if you purchase them.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 11, 2012 11:09 PM
    Nowhere near using my 16 GB, but I do notice a slowdown during the day with the apps running in the backbround, even though they're not active. Even app killer apps don't do the trick, I have to power off and then back on again to get it running right. That being said, I've got no complaints, it does everything an iPad does for hundreds less.
  • 4 Hide
    beardguy , September 11, 2012 11:22 PM
    @tendoboy

    I haven't had any performance issues with my Kindle Fire. I agree with you about the locked down Android OS. The interface can have a slightly less than snappy feel sometimes, but never bad. But the UI is actually pretty solid once you get used to it. Also it's easy to change the default UI (GoLauncher) and customize it however you want without any hacks/rooting it. While the Amazon Appstore isn't great, you can still find pretty much anything you could want. My experience is when there is so many apps ( hundreds of thousands ) it's a pain in the ass to filter through them. Also, it means there are most likely thousands of garbage apps as well.

    As an example I've got a few good gameloft games running perfect Modern Combat 3, etc. I've got snes and genesis emulators that run perfect . I can stream Netflix, listen to the radio, watch youtube videos, surf the net, listen to music. I've even got it setup as a wireless midi controller. I mean it does anything you could want it to do. And remember before the Nexus it was the only budget tablet (got mine for $170).

    The Nexus is appealing, and better in alot of ways than the Fire. But I don't think it's that much better honestly. In fact imho they missed one of the biggest selling points over the Fire, storage! They should have included a micro sd card slot.

    That's my experience in a nutshell.
  • 5 Hide
    darkchazz , September 11, 2012 11:25 PM
    Having this issue on my 16gb nexus 7.
    A custom kernel and some build.prop tweaks can speed things up, but not enough.

    No MicroSD slot is disappointing... Google can take its cloud service and stick it up its ass.
    Also, I got the screen separation issue = f*** you Asus.
    One more thing: Disappointed in Tegra3 performance (Abysmal memory bandwidth + poor gpu performance). sadly I fell for the marketing hype (POWAFUL QUAD COAR!!!).

    But what can say? glad I paid $249 and not $500+ for this device.
    My next tablet will definitely be one that's manufactured by samsung, with a ARM A15+Mali SoC. staying away from Asus for now.
  • -2 Hide
    jaquith , September 11, 2012 11:53 PM
    This is by no means anything new, all my wife's Android's since the Droid through her Nexus 7 have had the same issue -- simple delete stuff.
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